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[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

In The Supreme Court of Bermuda

2017 No: 320




Dates of Application: Friday 8 November 2017

Date of Judgment: Thursday 30 November 2017

Counsel for the Crown: Shakira Dill-Francois (Deputy Solicitor General)

Counsel for the Accused: Susan Mulligan (Christophers)

Delay of trial of Accused

Constitutional right to be tried within a reasonable time (s. 6(1) of the Bermuda Constitution)

JUDGMENT of Acting Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams


1. The Plaintiff is an Accused person charged with drug offences on indictment. He has been
awaiting trial for a period in excess of 2 years. He now appears before this Court on his
Originating Summons claiming that he has been deprived of his right to a fair trial within a
reasonable time, contrary to section 6 of the Constitution of Bermuda.

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

Background Summary:

2. The Plaintiff first appeared in the Magistrates Court on 2 September 2015 where the matter
remained for some nine to ten months.

3. The Crown filed an ex parte application for the preferment of a voluntary bill on 30 June
2016 to bring the matter to the Supreme Court for trial.

4. The learned Justice Charles-Etta Simmons consented to the voluntary bill in a ruling
delivered on 18 July 2016 wherein she also made findings on the applicability of the new
criminal procedural rules. The 18 July 2016 written ruling was delivered without a hearing or
input from the Defence.

5. The Plaintiff through his Counsel subsequently sought to be heard by Justice Simmons on an
inter partes basis in complaint of her 18 July 2016 ruling on the following principal grounds
which may be surmised as follows:

(i) The learned judge made findings on a procedural point of law without having heard
from Counsel on either side and after the matter had been fully adjudicated and
decided by the lower Court;
(ii) The learned judge wholly mist-stated the Plaintiffs position taken in the Magistrates
Court on the applicability of the new legislative regime;
(iii) The learned judge consented to the preferment of the voluntary bill without having
assessed the sufficiency of the evidence; and
(iv) The learned judges consent to prefer the voluntary bill was inconsistent with her
findings that the new criminal procedure rules applied

6. It took a few days short of a full year for this application to be heard by Justice Simmons.

7. On 13 July 2017 when the parties finally appeared before Justice Simmons, she set aside her
18 July 2017 ruling on the corrected procedural point of law and recused herself from
hearing arguments on the sufficiency of the evidence. (A written ruling was not delivered.)

8. For that reason, the evidential sufficiency arguments were heard before me as an acting
puisne judge sitting on 14 July 2017 and 31 July 2017. Two weeks later, I delivered a written
ruling on 14 August 2017 holding that the Crown had indeed satisfied the evidential
sufficiency test. In my ruling I commented on the delay in this case at paragraph 38:

"Turning briefly to the subject of delay, I note that the alleged offences occurred
approximately three (3) years ago. Approximately a year passed before the Accused was
charged by police. Nearly a one-year period then lapsed while this matter was in the
Magistrates Court. The matter has now been in the Supreme Courts jurisdiction for over a
year now without arraignment. In my view, the avoidance of further delay is crucial."

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

9. Notwithstanding, the matter is now before me again nearly three months later, and the
Defendant is still without trial.

The Magistrates Court Proceedings

10. On 2 September 2015 Mr. Hayward first appeared in Plea Court (jointly accused with
another) when the matter was adjourned to 16 September 2015 and thereafter for further
mention on 30 September 2015. On 14 October 2015 the Defence elected a Long Form
Preliminary Inquiry (LFPI) which was listed for 3 December 2015.

11. For reasons attributable to Counsel for the co-accused, the LFPI was adjourned to 24
February 2016. However, on 24 February 2016 Mr. Hayward did not appear and a warrant
was issued on account of his non-appearance. A mention date was then set for 3 March 2016.

12. On 3 March 2016 Mr. Arion Mapp appeared holding for Ms. Mulligan. The Prosecution
submitted that the new criminal procedural rules were operational and that the matter ought
to be sent to the Supreme Court in accordance with the Criminal Jurisdiction and Procedure
Act 2015. On account of Ms Mulligan's absence, the Defence was unprepared to argue this
point on 3 March 2016. Consequently, the matter was adjourned to the following week on 10
March 2016.

13. On 10 March 2016 the procedural law point was fully argued and the Magistrate ruled that
the former statutory regime applied. Accordingly, a LFPI was fixed for 13 April 2016.
However, due to illness Ms Mulligan did not appear on the April return date. Furthermore,
Mr. Hayward did not appear and a second warrant was issued for his non-appearance in these
proceedings. Two days later, Mr. Hayward surrendered before the Court and the warrant was
discharged and his bail was again extended.

14. The final appearance of this matter in the Magistrates Court was on 24 June 2016. On this
occasion the co-accused was not produced from prison custody. The Magistrate accordingly
listed the matter for LFPI on 22 July 2016. However, one week later the Crown filed an ex
parte application for the preferment of a voluntary bill on 30 June 2016.

The Supreme Court criminal proceedings

15. The ex parte application for the preferment of a voluntary bill was considered on the papers
by Justice Simmons. Without hearing from the parties, Justice Simmons considered the

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

applicability of the new statutory regime and decided that the Magistrate erred in proceeding
under the former indictment procedure rules.

16. Justice Simmons also found that the Learned Magistrates non-compliance with section 23
provided an adequate basis for the Courts consent to prefer the voluntary bill of indictment.
The Registrar was directed to sign the Bill of Indictment and did so on 18 July 2016. This
decision was recorded in Justice Simmons written ruling delivered on 18 July 2016.

17. On 1 August 2016 Mr. Hayward appeared before Justice Simmons in the monthly
arraignment session. Ms Christopher, holding for Ms Mulligan, advised the Court that Ms
Mulligan would later file a section 31 application on behalf of Mr. Hayward. Ms. Christopher
also stated that Ms Mulligan would file submissions on the ex parte application which
culminated in Justice Simmons 18 July 2016 ruling.

18. On 9 August 2016 Ms Mulligan was directed to file written arguments and mutually agreed
proposed dates for a hearing. On 15 August 2016 Ms Mulligan filed an application which she
labelled judicial review. Confusion ensued as to whether or not the application filed was
intended to be a section 31 application. In the September 2016 monthly arraignment session,
Justice Simmons remarked, I do not understand this Judicial Review Application- this
certainly does not take the form of a Judicial Review application. Judicial Review is not the
appropriate application. Mention on 3 October and reserve trial date for 6 Feb. Ms
Mulligan to clarify Judicial Review application filed- I simply cannot make heads or tails of

19. On 3 October 2017 the matter came before the learned Justice Carlisle Greaves during the
regular monthly arraignment session. Ms. Mulligans application on that occasion was
referred to as a section 31 application and a motion to quash the indictment. Justice Greaves
remarked, I am prepared to hear a section 31 and several in one day- you say an hour- I will hear one every
hour and get them cleaned up for you- we have to do something to straighten this up- so whatever there is, I am
prepared to hear it- I just set something for mention- I do not anticipate that Justice Simmons is going to have
anything to do I do see why we cant set this for mention for hearing before Simmons J on 14 October 2016 at
11:00m. This is mention for hearing- I cant say anything more than that- if there is going to be a ruling- I
expect to hear arguments

20. The 14 October 2016 hearing never came to pass due to the occurrence of hurricane Nicole in
Bermuda on the day prior on Thursday 13 October 2016. Counsel for both sides advised that
immediate and several attempts were made by the parties for the matter to be relisted before
Justice Simmons specifically. There were no criminal trials which proceeded before Justice
Simmons for a five week period from Monday 17 October 2016 to Friday 18 November
2016. (Friday 11 November 2016 was the Remembrance Day public holiday). The learned
judge started the trial in R v Damon Morris et No. 16 of 2016 on Monday 21 November 2016.
[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

21. The relocation of the Registry due to toxic mold contamination of Court files resulted in
unavoidable administrative challenges between 25 October 2016 and 18 November 2016.

22. On 6 February 2017 the parties appeared for trial before Greaves J. The prosecutor, Ms.
Larissa Burgess, informed the Court that the Crown attempted to obtain clarity from both Ms
Mulligan and the Court as to whether or not Ms. Mulligans application was being brought as
a judicial review action. She explained that if the answer was in the affirmative, the Crown
would necessarily seek representation from the Attorney Generals Chambers. The position
on 6 February 2017 was that the Crown was unaware of the procedural nature of Ms.
Mulligans application.

23. Ms. Mulligan suggested that she was unable to clarify the nature of her application because
of the contradictory approach taken by Justice Simmons in granting a voluntary bill under the
old regime but holding that new legislative regime applied. Ms Mulligan complained, So I
dont know how I review it at this point- whether it is a section 31 or Judicial Review or
review of the- (judge interrupted). Ms Mulligan explained that in one part she wished to
make arguments on the sufficiency of the evidence and that in the second part she sought to
be heard on the question of the applicable statutory regime for the committal proceedings.
The prosecutor, however, (and correctly) submitted that the new criminal procedure rules did
not preclude the Crown from proceeding by way of Voluntary Bill.

24. Greaves J, having recognized that Ms. Mulligans application would improperly invite him to
review the decision of a judge of concurrent jurisdiction directed as follows, I am going to
make an order that this matter be heard by Simmons J immediately after the present trial-
whenever that will be- and I am going to set it at a time- give her some time to catch herself-
I am going to set it for eleven oclock whatever day that is. Ms Mulligan then undertook to
refile her application which apparently was misplaced during the relocation of the Registry.

25. The judge then read aloud his hearing note as follows, Mrs Mulligan issue still outstanding
per Simmons J rulings on the 18 of July 2016- I am going to put here see file for Simmons J
ruling- matter should therefore be heard before her- the Court having heard the submissions
of Mulligan for the Defendant Hayward and Burgess for the Crown- Court is also of the view
that the issue can only be resolved before Simmons J and will order an expedited hearing
before her immediately to follow her present trial R v Bennet and Davy- so the order is- I
think Ms Simmons may be going off shortly after that so I am going to set it: mention for
Simmons J at eleven am on the day immediately following her present trial of R v Bennet and
Davyat DLBE (Court building) Greaves J then directed that both Defendants appear with
their respective attorneys.

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

26. Despite the Courts clear direction, the matter was not heard by Justice Simmons following
the R v Bennet and Davy trial. At paragraphs 16-17 of Ms. Mulligans Originating Summons,
she states:

16. Again, despite counsels advice to the Court that this matter must, at least initially, be
heard by Simmons J., the matter was again listed before Greaves J. Submissions were again
heard as to why the matter could only properly (be) heard by Simmons J, and Greaves J
referred the matter back to Mrs. Justice Simmons on a date to follow a jury trial she was
presiding over at that time.
17. Again, despite efforts made by counsel for the Plaintiff and his co-defendant, the matter
did not get set for hearing following the completion of Simmons J jury trial in April 2017.

27. As a point of correction, I will take judicial notice that the R v Zoe Bennett and Omar Davy
Indictment No.s 26 and 39 of 2016 trial before Justice Simmons commenced on Monday 16
January 2017 and concluded on Thursday 16 February 2017 and not in April 2017.

28. At paragraph 16 of the Plaintiffs 6 September 2017 affidavit, he states:

I know that my lawyer made phone calls and wrote to the Court, but was unable to get my
case back into Court until April 2017. We were again before Justice Greaves who did not
seem to recall his earlier ruling that Mrs. Justice Simmonds (sic) (Simmons) should hear this
application and he indicated that the Court file had been lost so he had not (sic) (no) notes or
materials from previous appearances. My lawyer again explained why it had to be heard by
Mrs. Justice Simmons and Mr. Greaves again agreed with her and said the Registrar would
set it for when Mrs. Justice Simmonds (sic) (Simmons) finished her current trial

29. In fact, Mr. Haywards application was not listed again until 3 July 2017 when it was simply
mentioned in the regular monthly arraignment session again before Justice Greaves. Mr.
Hayward (seemingly unaware of the fixture) failed to appear before the Court. Defence
attorney, Mr. Arion Mapp, holding for Ms. Mulligan, informed that Court that Mr. Hayward
had not likely been properly notified to attend Court as he himself only received the Court
list on the preceding Friday when he happened to notice Mr. Haywards name listed.

30. The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Cindy Clarke, appeared for the Crown on 3
July 2017 and stated,

I understand that there may only be actings (Acting Puisne Judges) but at this point the
Crown is- its been outstanding for some seven (7) months- so well take an acting on the 13th
of July please- preferably in the afternoon

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

31. On 3 July 2017 the Plaintiffs co-accused, represented by Defence attorney Marc Daniels,
also advised the Court that he had unsuccessfully employed efforts for some time to get his
own Client before the Court to be sentenced. The co-accused then entered a guilty plea to the
remaining count on the indictment (having entered a guilty plea to only one count
previously). Justice Greaves fixed a sentence date for 5 July 2017 and ordered for Mr.
Hayward to attend Court on that return date which he did. The section 31 application (and
effectively the inter partes arguments against the consent given by Justice Simmons a year
prior in July 2016 to prefer the voluntary bill of indictment) was listed for 13 July 2017.

32. Ms. Mulligans application challenging the sufficiency of the evidence was listed for hearing
on 13 July 2017 before me. This undoubtedly increased the mounting frustration in Counsel
who sent another written request for the matter to proceed before Justice Simmons instead.
On the basis that Ms. Mulligans application was to be heard inter partes on the consent
given by Justice Simmons in her 18 July 2016 ruling, Justice Simmons acceded to the

33. During the 13 July 2017 hearing, Ms. Mulligan complained that the learned judge
significantly mis-stated her Clients position in the 18 July 2016 ruling delivered one year
prior. In her ruling ([2016] SC (Bda) 74 Crim (18 July 2016) p.4) Justice Simmons stated:

On 10 March 2016 Ms Mulligan seemed to be the only person who appreciated that
continuing to attempt to deal with the matter pursuant to the Indictable Offences Act by way
of a Preliminary inquiry had no basis in law. She was correct as any such proceeding would
amount to a nullity.

34. However, the arguments made by Ms. Mulligan stated the exact opposite position than that
recounted by the learned judge. Ms. Mulligans during the preceding 3-4 months in the
Magistrates Court was in pursuit of an order for a preliminary inquiry.

35. Counsel also complained that Justice Simmons 18 July 2016 review of the applicability of
the old statutory regime was made without request or input from Counsel for either side.
Counsel for both sides agreed that the Court ought to have heard full arguments from both
the Crown and the Defence before effectively reversing the Magistrates finding on a
disputed point of procedural law.

36. Ms. Mulligan further submitted that the Justice Simmons ruling that the repealed statutory
regime was no longer applicable to these proceedings was inconsistent with her consent to
prefer a voluntary bill of indictment because a preferment could have only been done under
the old statutory regime.

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

37. Accordingly, Justice Simmons set aside her 18 July 2016 ruling and held that the repealed
statutory regime did in fact apply to this case. Further, the learned judge withdrew her
consent to the preferment of the voluntary bill accepting that her consent to prefer the bill of
indictment had been given without any consideration to the evidence. Justice Simmons,
accordingly, fixed the application to be made afresh before me on an inter partes basis. A
written decision on these findings which effectively reversed her ruling in [2016] SC (Bda)
74 Crim (18 July 2016 on the applicability of the new statutory regime was not delivered.

38. Having recused herself on 13 July 2017 from hearing arguments on the sufficiency of
evidence application, Justice Simmons listed the matter to be heard by another judge and
directed the re-opening of the voluntary bill application on an inter partes hearing.

39. On 14 July 2017 the matter appeared before me. The application was part-heard when I
adjourned at an early hour to accommodate a request made by the prosecutor. The
application was fixed to continue on 31 July 2017 which was the earliest return date
convenient and available to the prosecuting Counsel. Two weeks thereafter I delivered a
written ruling ([2017] SC (Bda) 64 Crim (14 August 2017) finding that the Crowns evidence
surpassed the sufficiency threshold. I also ordered for the Accused to be arraigned in the next
September arraignment session, expressing that it was crucial to avoid further delay in listing
this trial to proceed.

40. On 1 September 2017 Mr. Hayward was arraigned before Justice Simmons. He entered not
guilty pleas to the indictment and a trial date was fixed for 14 November 2017,
notwithstanding Ms Mulligans indication that she would be unavailable due to her fixtures
in the Court of Appeal. Another trial matter was fixed to proceed in the same Court on 14
November 2017 and did in fact start on that date. I also note that Ms. Mulligan also
commenced the R v Butterfield & Perinchief Indictment No. 37 of 2015 trial before Justice
Simmons on 23 October 2017 which is ongoing and likely to be completed on the same date
of delivery of this Judgment.

41. On 6 September 2017 Ms Mulligan filed the Originating Summons with which I am now

42. At the 7 November hearing before me, Counsel on both sides advised that timing of the
delivery of my judgment on the Originating Summons would have no impact on the inability
of the 14 November 2017 fixed trial due to Ms. Mulligans involvement in the ongoing trial
before Justice Simmons in R v Butterfield & Perinchief Indictment No. 37 of 2015.
Understandably, R v Butterfield & Perinchief proceeded on priority as it had been on the
Supreme Court criminal docket since 3 October 2015 ie. for over two years without trial.

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

The Originating Summons

43. The Plaintiffs pleaded grounds of complaint are summarized between paragraphs 23-28 of
the Originating Summons:

23. The total delay in this matter from the date of the alleged offence to the date when it is
anticipated trial may finally proceed in the Supreme Court is 3 year, 2 months (38
months). The time that has elapsed since this matter was first brought into the Magistrates
Court and the anticipated date of trial is 2 years, 2 months (26 months).

24. The Plaintiff attests that all but 3 months delay as a result of his co-defendants counsel
being unavailable and 2 months delay due to the illness of his own counsel is attributable
to the Prosecution, as the prosecution must bear the burden of all forms of systemic delay,
including administrative errors, delays caused by police and prison authorities, and delays
originating with the Court.

25. Thus the total delay attributable to the Crown from the date of the offence until the date
of the anticipated trial is 33 months. The total delay attributable to the Defendant is 2

26. A delay of 33 months from the date of the Plaintiffs arrest, is an unreasonable delay in
all of the circumstances of this case.

27. That as a result of the length of delay, prejudice to the Plaintiff must be presumed.

28. That in addition to the presumed prejudice, the Plaintiff has suffered actual prejudice as
a result of this unreasonable delay before his trial.

44. The redress sought is as follows:

A declaration that the Plaintiff has been deprived of his right to a fair trial within a
reasonable time contrary to section 6 of the Constitution;

An order dismissing the charges against the Plaintiff;

Any such further or other relief as this Honourable Court may consider just;


[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

45. The Originating Summons is supported by an affidavit sworn by the Plaintiff on 6

September 2017. The Crown also filed affidavit evidence reply. I have carefully read and
considered all of the affidavit evidence filed.

The Law

46. The Originating Summons is made pursuant to Order 114/1 of the Rules of the Supreme
Court 1985 which reads:

Proceedings instituted pursuant to section 15(1) of the Constitution shall be commenced by

originating summons.

47. Section 15(1) of the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968 reads:

15(1) If any person alleges that any of the foregoing provisions of this Chapter has been, is
being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him, then, without prejudice to any other
action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person may apply to
the Supreme Court for redress.

48. The foregoing provision alleged by the Plaintiff to have been or to be contravened is section
6(1) which provides:

If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then, unless the charge is withdrawn, the
case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and
impartial court established by law.

49. Firstly, I dispose of pre-charge delay complaint pleaded by the Plaintiff in the Originating
Summons. Ms. Mulligan withdrew this component of her arguments and conceded during the
7 November 2017 hearing before me that pre-charge delay was an unsustainable ground of

50. The Deputy Solicitor-General, Ms. Dill-Francois, referred me to Allison Roberts-Wolffe v

John Tomlinson [2016] SC (Bda) 18 App (15 February 2016) where the learned Hon. Chief
Justice, Ian Kawaley, delivered an ex tempore judgment in an appeal against the decision of
the learned Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo dismissing an Information containing dog offence
charges. The Information had been summarily dismissed on a statutory limitation point. The
Court in considering the limitation period held that a prosecution for a summary offence
commences when the Information is sworn before the Magistrate.

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

51. Ms Dill-Francois also pointed the Court to the dissenting judgment of Lamer J in the
Supreme Court of Canada in Elijah Askov v The Queen [1990] 2 R.C.S where he stated in
agreement with the majority:

I agree, rather with the view that the time frame to be considered in computing trial within a
reasonable time only runs from the moment a person is charged. Pre-charge delay will in no
way impair those interests with which s.11(b) is concerned. Prior to the charge, the
individual will not normally be subject to restraint nor will he or she stand accused before
the community of committing a crime. Thus, those aspects of the liberty and security of the
person protected by s. 11(b) will not be placed in jeopardy prior to the institution of judicial
proceedings against the individual by means of the charge.

52. It is plainly correct that a persons right to a fair trial within a reasonable timeframe is not
determinable by the length of a pre-charge police investigation. Section 6(1) of the
Constitution could not sensibly operate to impose a deadline on the completion of a police

53. When looking at the general principles on a persons right under section 6(1), Ms. Dill-
Francois relied on Giles and Attorney General v Hall [2004] Bda L.R. 26 where the Plaintiff
claimed by Originating Summons that his right to a fair trial had been contravened contrary
to section 6(1) of the Constitution. Justice Storr, at first instance, granted the Applicant,
Andrew Hall, a declaration that he had been deprived of his right to a fair trial within a
reasonable time.

54. The case was heard on appeal and the judgment was delivered by Evans J.A. At page 3 of his

The authorities were reviewed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Counsel (sic), Lord
Bingham of Cornhill presiding, in Dyer (Procurater Fiscal, Linlithgow) v Watson and
Another [2002] UKPC D1 [2002] 4 LRC 577. In Paragraph 52 of his judgment, with which
Lord Hutton, Lord Millet and Lord Rogers agreed, Lord Bingham stated the Courts
approach as follows:

[52] In any case in which it is said that the reasonable time requirement (to which I will
henceforward confine myself) has been or will be violated, the first step is to consider the
period of time which has elapsed. Unless that period is one which, on its face and without
more, gives grounds for real concern it is almost certainly unnecessary to go further, since
the Convention is directed not to departures from the ideal but to infringements of basic
human rights. The threshold of proving a breach of the reasonable time requirement is a high
one, not easily crossed. But if the period which has elapsed is one which, on its face and

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

without more, gives ground for real concern, two consequences follow. First, it is necessary
for the court to look into the detailed facts and circumstances of the particular case. The
Strasbourg case law shows very clearly that the outcome is closely dependent on the facts of
each case. Secondly, it is necessary for the contracting state to explain and justify any lapse
of time which appears to be excessive.

Lord Bingham continued:

[53] The Court has identified three areas as calling for particular inquiry. The first of these
is the complexity of the case
[54] The second matteris the conduct of the defendantA defendant cannot properly
complain of delay of which he is the author
[55] The third matteris the manner in which the case has been dealt with by the
administrative and judicial authoritiesIt is, generally speaking, incumbent on contracting
states so to organize their legal systems as to ensure that the reasonable time requirement is
honoured. But nothing in the Convention jurisprudence requires courts to shut their eyes to
the practical realities of litigious life even in a reasonably well organized legal system..

We respectfully adopt this passage as the correct approach for the court to adopt.

55. Counsel also referred me to the judgment of Bell J (as he then was) in Angela Cox (Ploice
Sergeant) v Jahkeil Samuels [2005] Bda LR 24. The judgment in Samuels arose from a
Notice of Appeal filed by the Crown against the decision of the learned Magistrate, William
Francis, to dismiss a summary Information against the Respondent on the basis of delay
alone. The relevant part of the learned Magistrates decision was recited by Bell J on page 1
as follows:

Issue for me therefore is whether in light of this over 2 years delay with memories fading
justice can be done. To make matters worse I do not see that this trial can take place before
March due to the present state of the court calendar. I rule therefore that to start this case at
this stage after so many delays so late will be unjust. I dismiss this Information.

56. Justice Bell stated in his judgment that he restricted his consideration of matters to the issue
of delay and cited Giles and Attorney General v Hall as the relevant law. At page 3 of the
judgment it reads:

Hence, when the matter finally came on for trial on 16 December 2004 (and Mr. Wolffe
indicated that the Crown was ready to proceed on that date) instead of a trial there was an
application for the dismissal of the information, to which the magistrate acceded. This means
that from the time the first trial date was set, there was no less than 6 adjournments, each of
which caused a delay of approximately three months. Of these six, one is unexplained, two

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

were due to the Courts administrative process, and certainly two, and in part a third, were
the Responsibility of the Respondent. Hence, it is impossible to say that there was any
significant delay which can be said to be both unreasonable and the responsibility of the
Crown. I do not regard the delay in filing the original information as being unreasonable.
Neither do I regard the two occasions where the Courts administrative process occasioned
an adjournment as representing an unreasonable delay in the circumstances. Even though
the Wor. Francis was the magistrate who dealt with the matters on 16 December 2004, it had
not been understood on 11 March 2004 that he would still be acting at that time, so that
adjournment was not at all unreasonable. Neither do I regard one further adjournment of
three months due to the state of the Court calendar as being unreasonable.

57. The Court in Jahkeil Samuels thus held that the learned magistrate was wrong in law to
dismiss the information on the grounds of delay and allowed the appeal.

58. In Bailey v Wm E Meyer & Co Ltd [2017] Bda LR.5 the learned Chief Justice referred to
Dyer v Watson [2004] AC 379; [2002] UKPC D1 and Giles and the Attorney General v Hall
[2004] Bda LR 26 as the leading authorities on the constitutional right to a fair trial within a
reasonable period of time.

59. Ms. Mulligan filed a voluminous bundle of Canadian cases to which she referred minimally
during the hearing before me. However, I have carefully reviewed all of those authorities
filed which deal with section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which
reads: Any person charged with an offencehas the right to be tried within a reasonable

60. Ms Mulligan addressed me on Elijah Askov v The Queen [1990] 2 R.C.S. which dealt with
the issue of trial delay on appeal from the Court of Appeal for Ontario. At first instance, the
trial judge stayed the proceedings having found that the major part of delay following the
appellants committal stemmed from institutional problems. However, on appeal the Court of
Appeal found that there had been (1) no misconduct on the part of the Crown; (2) no
indication of any objection by the appellants to any of the adjournments; and (3) no evidence
of any actual prejudice to the appellants. For those reasons the Court of Appeal set aside the
stay and directed that the trial proceed. However, on appeal from the Court of Appeal, the
Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal and directed the stay of the proceedings.

61. Per Dickson C.J. and La Forest, LHeureux-Dube, Gonthier and Cory JJ the Court recorded
at pages 1200-1201 the following as the correct approach to the assessment of unreasonable
trial delay:

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

The court should consider a number of factors in determining whether the delay in bringing
the accused to trial has been unreasonable: (1) the length of the delay; (2) the explanation
for the delay; (3) waiver; and (4) prejudice to the accused. The longer the delay, the more
difficult it should be for a court to excuse it, and very lengthy delays may be such that they
cannot be justified for any reason. Delays attributable to the Crown will weigh in favour of
the accused. Complex cases, however, will justify delays longer than those acceptable in
simple cases. Systemic or institutional delays will also weigh against the Crown. When
considering delays occasioned by inadequate institutional resources, the question of how
long a delay is too long may be resolved by comparing the questioned jurisdiction to others
in the country. The comparison of similar and thus comparable districts must always be
made with the better districts, not the worst. The comparison need not be too precise or
exact; rather, it should look to the appropriate ranges of delay in determining what is a
reasonable limit. In all cases it will be incumbent upon the Crown to show that the
institutional delay in question is justifiable. Certain actions of the accused, on the other
hand, will justify delays. A waiver by the accused of his rights will justify delay, but the
waiver must be informed, unequivocal and freely given to be valid.
Here, the delay of almost two years following the preliminary hearing was clearly excessive
and unreasonable. The Crown did not show that the delay did not prejudice the appellants,
and nothing in the case was so complex or inherently difficult as to justify a lengthy delay.
This trial was to be heard in a judicial district notorious for the time required to obtain a
trial date and figures from comparable districts demonstrate that the situation there is
unreasonable and intolerable.

62. Cory J in delivering the judgment of the Supreme Court, with which Lamer J dissented but
agreed in the parts outlined on page 1219, made the following compelling observations on
the importance of the right to a fair trial within a reasonable period of time:

I agree with the position taken by Lamer J that s. 11(b) explicitly focusses upon the
individual interest of liberty and security of the person. Like other specific guarantees
provided by s.11, this paragraph is primarily concerned with an aspect of fundamental
justice guaranteed by s. 7 of the Charter. There could be no greater frustration imaginable
for innocent persons charged with an offence than to be denied the opportunity of
demonstrating their innocence for an unconscionable time as a result of unreasonable delays
in their trial. The time awaiting trial must be exquisite agony for accused persons and their
immediate family. It is a fundamental precept of our criminal law that every individual is
presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. It follows that on the same fundamental level of
importance, all accused persons, each one of whom is presumed to be innocent, should be
given the opportunity to defend themselves against the charges they face and to have their
name cleared and reputation re-established at the earliest possible time.

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

Although the primary aim of s. 11(b) is the protection of the individuals rights and the
provision of fundamental justice for the accused, nonetheless there is, in my view, at least by
inference, a community or societal interest implicit in s.11(b). That community interest has a
dual dimension. First, there is a collective interest in ensuring that those who transgress the
law are brought to trial and dealt with according to the law. Second, those individuals on
trial must be treated fairly and justly. Speedy trials strengthen both those aspects of the
community interest. A trial held within a reasonable time must benefit the individual accused
as the prejudice which results from criminal proceedings is bound to be minimized. If the
accused is in custody, the custodial time awaiting trial will be kept to a minimum. If the
accused is at liberty on bail and subject to conditions, then the curtailments on the liberty of
the accused will be kept to a minimum. From the point of view of community interest, in those
cases where the accused is detained in custody awaiting trial, society will benefit by the
quick resolution of the case either by re-integrating into society the accused found to be
innocent or if found guilty by dealing with the accused according to the law. If the accused is
released on bail and subsequently found guilty, the frustration felt by the community on
seeing an unpunished wrongdoer in their midst for an extended period of time will be

63. The Court continued in its judgment to examine the inevitable risks of reducing the quality of
evidence available which arise on account of trial delay.

Findings on Delay

No unreasonable delay in the Magistrates Court

64. The first LFPI hearing was listed for 3 December 2015, some three months after the first
Magistrates Court appearance. I find no unreasonable delay here. The adjournment of the 3
December 2015 LFPI hearing was at the request of the Co-Accused and cannot be said to
have occurred for administrative reasons or at the fault of the judicial authorities. The 24
February 2016 LFPI date was lost due to Mr. Haywards non-appearance. Mr. Hayward,
alone, is at fault for the loss of time between 24 February 2016 and 3 March 2016.

65. Ms. Mulligan criticized the prosecution for raising the committal procedural point for the
first time on 3 March 2016. However, I find no such criticism to be warranted. The correct
legislative procedure for the committal proceedings would have undoubtedly been a
foreseeable component of the committal hearing preparation, especially in the wake of a new
statutory regime. However, Ms. Mulligan sent a junior counsel to the hearing in her stead on
a misguided estimation of the simplicity of the hearing. The prosecution cannot be faulted for

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

66. The following LFPI hearing date on 13 April 2016 was adjourned due to Ms. Mulligans
illness and Mr. Haywards second non-appearance which resulted in the fixture of the 24
June 2016 hearing date. This delay is at the feet of the Defence. The final period which
followed endured only one week as the voluntary bill application was filed on 30 June 2016.

67. For these reasons, I find that the Crown cannot be properly faulted for any of the delay which
occurred in the Magistrates Court.

No unreasonable delay in the Supreme Court in 2016

68. I find no unreasonable delay in the initial period when the matter was first before the
Supreme Court between 30 June and 1 August 2016. Ms Mulligans 15 August 2016
ambiguous application for judicial review clearly caused real confusion which in turn
protracted matters. Justice Simmons expressed uncertainty on the nature of the application in
September 2016. This was not clarified by the Defence. To add to the cloudiness of the
application, on 3 October 2016 Ms. Christopher, holding for Ms. Mulligan, described the
application in Court as a motion to quash the indictment and a section 31 application.

69. From 3 October 2016 the matter was adjourned to 14 October 2016 before Simmons J. This
hearing date did not come to pass due to the hurricane on the previous day. This caused an
unavoidable adjournment. The occurrence of natural disasters and the immediate aftermath
ought not to be included as part of any unreasonable delay period.

70. There were no criminal trials which proceeded before Justice Simmons for a five week
period between Monday 17 October 2016 and Friday 18 November 2016. However, the
emergency relocation of the Registry on Thursday 25 October 2017 due to toxic mold
findings and poor infrastructural conditions is classifiable as another unavoidable natural
disaster. Court Circulars were issued during this period to explain the various stages of
administrative restoration. During this time, Justice Simmons relocated her Court home from
Sessions House to the Commercial Court Building and then to Dame Lois Brown Evans
Building. This was a necessary response to the hurricane damage caused to Sessions House.

71. Court Circular No.25 of 2016 confirmed that the criminal registry was restored and
operational from the Dame Lois Browne Evans building as of 18 November 2016. The
relocation of the registry did not prevent Court hearings from proceeding. It did, however,
impede on the efficiencies of Court filings up until 18 November 2016 and quite plausibly
explains why Counsels numerous request for a relisted hearing in October and November
2016 seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

72. For these reasons, I have not found any unreasonable delays to have occurred in the Supreme
Court between 30 June 2016 and December 2016.

Excess of Five (5) months unreasonable delay in the Supreme Court in 2017

73. It was necessary after the delisting of the 14 October 2016 fixture for the Plaintiffs inter
partes application to Justice Simmons to be heard and determined expeditiously and in any
event within a reasonable timeframe. Ideally, Ms Mulligans day inter partes application
would have been listed in 2016 prior to the start of the R v Damon Morris et al No. 16 of
2016 trial which commenced on 21 November 2016 through to the end of the calendar year
and up to Friday 13 January 2017. The fact that this did not occur is unfortunate, not
unreasonable. The R v Morris trial would have understandably proceeded with priority as it
was a multi-defendant case which in this jurisdiction can be difficult to schedule due to the
low number of criminal defence attorneys. Also, the R v Morris trial was initially fixed for a
7 November 2016 start date; so the later start on 21 November would have understandably
motivated the learned judge to sit with minimal disruptions. I find it would not have been
reasonable to expect the learned judge to interpose the Plaintiffs matter before the close of
the Morris et al trial.

74. Again, I agree that Ms. Mulligans application might have been listed on priority to follow
the Damon Morris trial before Justice Simmons started the R v Zoe Bennet and Omar Davy
No. 28/29 of 2016 on the following Monday, 16 January 2016. However, some understanding
must be had for the fact that Justice Simmons had just finished a 34 day trial and was perhaps
distracted by the need to start the next trial without further delaying the general progress of
the criminal calendar. Further, Justice Greaves left the jurisdiction in November 2016 and did
not return until the start of February 2017. This left no practical opportunity between 21
November 2016 and 6 February 2017 for this matter to be relisted. Furthermore, Ms.
Mulligan still had not yet clarified the nature of her application prior to 6 February 2017.
Therefore, it is understandable if the Court at that point had not yet fully grasped the relief

75. The Court listed the inter partes application on day 1 of the trial, ie. 6 February 2017 before
Greaves J. It was at this time that the Court had the first opportunity to gain a better
understanding that Ms Mulligan was, effectively, pursuing an inter partes hearing before
Justice Simmons in respect of her 18 July 2016 ruling. Justice Greaves during that hearing
expressed his understanding that the Plaintiffs Counsel wished to challenge Justice
Simmons 18 July 2016 decision wherein she (i) consented to the preferment of a voluntary
bill of indictment without regard to any of the evidence and (ii) made findings on the
applicable procedural law for committal proceedings without input from Counsel and after
the matter had been adjudicated in the lower court. Accordingly, Justice Greaves determined
that he could not resolve Ms Mulligans application because to do so would erroneously

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

place him in appeal of his sister judge of concurrent jurisdiction. This was the only
reasonable approach available to the Court.

76. However, Justice Greaves 6 February 2017 order for the inter partes application to be heard
by Justice Simmons on an expedited basis did not materialize. More so, his order for the
matter to be listed for mention before Justice Simmons on the day following her completion
of the R v Bennet and Davy trial which concluded on Thursday 16 February 2017 did not
come to pass. The next listed trial before Justice Simmons was R v George Simmons No. 37
of 2016 which started on Monday 20 March 2017. This resulted in a 4 week trial-less period
before Justice Simmons unused.

77. Ms. Mulligans day application request continued without a hearing before Justice
Simmons for the entire months of March, April, May and June 2017. Criminal listings are a
judicial function controlled and managed by the Trial Supervising Judge alone. Hence, this
delay would be described as systemic or institutional as it was controlled by a judicial

78. According to the Plaintiffs affidavit evidence, this matter was relisted in April 2017 before
Justice Greaves. This does not appear to be correct according to the Court Smart (audio)
record. Notably, the Crown makes no suggestion of an April 2017 appearance in its reply
affidavit evidence. Further, there is no suggestion in the Crowns written or oral submissions
that the matter appeared before the Court in April 2017. I, therefore, proceed on the basis the
next Court appearance after 6 February 2017 occurred on 3 July 2017 when the matter was
listed for mention in the regular monthly arraignment Court.

79. On 13 July 2017 Ms. Mulligans inter partes application finally came before Justice
Simmons for the first time after her ex parte ruling delivered one year prior on 18 July 2016.
I find that the unreasonable delay portion of that period attributable to the Courts judicial
process runs from the start of 16 February 2017 through to the 13 July 2017 hearing, thus 21
weeks / 5.25 months.

80. The proceedings as they occurred between 13 July 2017 and 1 September 2017 do not give
rise to a meritorious complaint of unreasonable delay. I also find that the Courts listing of
this matter for trial to commence on 14 November 2017, notwithstanding Ms. Mulligans
indication that she would be occupied before the Court of Appeal, was a reasonable attempt
to dispose of this matter expeditiously. This listing followed my direction made on 14 August
2017 for the avoidance of further delay.

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)


81. In applying the approach outlined by Lord Bingham in Dyer (Procurater Fiscal, Linlithgow)
v Watson and Another [2002] UKPC D1 [2002] 4 LRC 577 I have, as a first step, considered
the period of time which has elapsed. The Plaintiffs case started in the Magistrates Court on
2 September 2015 where it remained for 10 months. The case has subsequently been in the
Supreme Court since 30 June 2016 without trial for approximately 18 months. This comes to
a total of 28 months ie. leading into 2 years without trial. However, I have found that the
period of unreasonable delay caused by the judicial authorities comes to some 21 weeks /
5.25 months. This is systemic and falls on the shoulders of the Crown in constitutional

82. The next step is for me to consider whether 21 weeks / 5.25 months of unreasonable delay for
a matter that has been without trial for 28 months gives rise for real concern. If it does, I must
go on to consider numerous other general factors and circumstances particular to this case.
In my judgment, an unreasonable delay period of 5.25 months in the Supreme Court of
Bermuda is cause for grave concern. For that reason, this Court is bound to examine all of the
various other factors and circumstances.

83. The Plaintiffs criminal case is not one of any great complexity. I find it curious that the
Defence spent such an inordinate period of time pursuing a hearing in challenge of the
sufficiency of the Crowns evidence and the mode of committal proceedings. This is a case
where the Crowns evidence clearly satisfied the prima facie threshold requirement for
committal proceedings (see my previous ruling in The Queen v Sabian Hayward [2017] SC
(Bda) 64 Crim (14 August 2017). On the face of the Crowns evidence, Mr. Hayward was
caught red-handed by police in possession of a large quantity of controlled drugs with his
Co-Accused who has been sentenced on his guilty pleas. Experienced Counsel, such as Ms.
Mulligan, is more than competent to make a sound and reasonable assessment of the
evidence. I find it equally curious why the Defence did not withdraw from this technical
argument on 6 February 2017 when the opportunity to proceed to trial before Greaves J
arose. Of course, the Defence was entitled to pursue any legal process available to it and
should not be precluded from so doing on account of systemic inefficiencies.

84. In determining the reasonable timeframe for a trial in this case, I must cast my mind to the
practical realities of criminal litigation in the Supreme Court. Ms. Mulligan referred to
Justice Greaves well known case management system of fixing trials within a 3 month
timeframe of an Accuseds first arraignment appearance. This listing system was optimal and
ideal. A dereliction from the 3 month pre-trial period goal post, however, does not in my
judgment amount to a breach of section 6(1) of the constitution and is not always realistic.

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

85. The Supreme Court bench is currently comprised of two very senior and experienced judges,
one of whom sits as a full time judge and the other who sits as a part-time judge hearing the
majority of the criminal trials listed. There is also a roster of two acting puisne criminal
judges. A reasonable timeframe for a trial will also depend on the number of trials listed and
the availability of the criminal judges. I have taken judicial notice of the level of indictment
traffic in the Supreme Court since the Plaintiffs matter was first brought to the Supreme
Court on 30 June 2016 by voluntary bill. From July 2016 to present there have been
somewhere between 25-30 trials listed. Since July 2016, the average trial has been listed
within a 6 month period of the first arraignment date. There are nevertheless a minority group
of trial listings which have exceeded an 8 month waiting period.

86. Having had regard to all of these points, I find that an unreasonable delay period in excess of
1 year from 16 February 2017 would more plausibly qualify as a deprivation of the Plaintiffs
constitutional rights in this case. This is not hard and fast and does not mean that a trial
listing which moderately goes beyond 16 February 2018 will automatically constitute a
breach of section 6(1). Further, any future assessment of the Plaintiffs section 6(1)
constitutional rights would necessarily be tied to the facts and circumstances of the
proceedings as they occur in the future.

87. Findings of unreasonable delay which are a fraction of the total computation of time will not
always amount to a deprivation of ones constitutional right to a fair trial within a reasonable
period of time. The assessment of the Plaintiffs constitutional rights will not be examined
myopically. The Court will look to all of the varying factors and realities to determine
whether the delay is overall unreasonable. In this instance, the unreasonable delay period was
less than one quarter of the total 28 month waiting period.

88. I have considered the evidence from the Plaintiff and the submissions from both Counsel on
the presumed and actual prejudice to the Plaintiff. I accept that the Plaintiff has experienced
great frustration and feels denied of the opportunity to demonstrate the innocence he is
presumed to have. In the Plaintiffs affidavit he spoke about his diabetic father who resides in
Jamaica, having now lost his eye sight and suffered an amputated leg. The Plaintiff has not,
as part of his bail conditions, been permitted to travel and visit his ill father. I have not
ignored the obvious agony which the Plaintiff and his family have undergone in waiting for
the Court listings his Counsel so persistently pursued. Of course, I am also mindful that a
greater portion of the overall delay period was coined by the Defence in the Magistrates
Court and by the occurrence of a hurricane and toxic mold in the Supreme Court Registry in

89. In considering the subject of prejudice to the Plaintiff, I have also placed my mind to the
need for protection of the communitys interest which I hold to be implicit in section 6 of our

[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

Constitution. If the accused, having been released on bail, is subsequently found guilty and
imprisoned, it would mean that he, an unpunished wrongdoer, had been at liberty in the
community for an extended period of time after having been caught by the authorities.


90. Having examined all of these aspects of this case, I find that the Plaintiff has not been
deprived of his constitutional rights under section 6(1). However, I do agree that the
Plaintiffs criminal proceedings have been moving with dragging feet. Such systemic or
institutional delays will necessarily weigh against the Crown in constitutional applications.

91. This case narrowly missed a dismissal of charges by this Court. This matter must now be
listed for trial expeditiously. Counsel of record should make themselves flexibly available to
accommodate the earliest possible trial listing. A new trial date must be canvassed and
confirmed before the close of December 2017.

92. I see no reason to depart from the usual approach of the Courts as it relates to costs.
Ordinarily, the Court will not make an order for costs in constitutional matters involving
unsuccessful litigants in pursuit of their constitutional rights against public authorities.

93. In my previous security for costs ruling delivered in Ayo Kimathi et al v the AG et al [2017]
SC (Bda) 87 Civ, I outlined the leading authorities and costs principles applicable to non-
frivolous constitutional applications involving unsuccessful private citizens. These principles
were initially stated in the costs ruling of the learned Hon. Chief Justice, Ian Kawaley, in the
same case matter and again in Mahesh Sannapareddy v The Commissioner of the Bermuda
Police Service and The Attorney General [2017] SC (Bda) 54 Civ (5 July 2017) which
outlines the expected approach of the Crown in the rare circumstances when it intends to
recover its costs from a constitutional application.

94. At paragraph 21 in Sannapareddy the learned Chief Justice stated:

It is impossible to overstate the significance of the Court of Appeal for Bermudas decision
in Barbosa in terms of promoting access to the Court by litigants wishing to seek
constitutional relief. Implicit in the new costs regime is the notion that the State should be
willing to bear its own costs in assisting the Court to construe the Constitution in the context
of adjudicating a citizens non-frivolous complaint that his or her fundamental rights have
been contravened.

95. In The Minister of Home Affairs and The Attorney General v Michael Barbosa Civil Appeal
No. 3 & 3A of 2016 the Bermuda Court of Appeal upheld this general rule which was first
[2017] SC (Bda) 102 Civ (1 December 2017)

stated by the learned Justice Stephen Hellman at first instance. Also see Justice Hellmans
ruling in Holman [2015] SC (Bda) 70 Civ (13 October 2015) where he followed the
approach of the South African Constitutional Court in Biowatch Trust v Registrar: Genetic
Resources and Others [2009] ZACC 4 and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal decision in
Chief of Police et al v Calvin Nias (2008) 73 WIR 201.

96. In my judgment, the Plaintiffs claim was far from frivolous. For those reasons, I am not
minded to make an order for costs. However, I will hear the parties on costs if either side
within the next 21 days makes such a request by letter filed in the Registry.

Dated this 30th day of November 2017